Skip to main content

tv   Remembering President Kennedy  CSPAN  May 8, 2016 8:00pm-9:05pm EDT

8:00 pm
this year marks the 60th jfk'srsary of just -- profiles encourage. it told the story of a u.s. senators. it are the 1957 pulitzer prize. for jfkthe presidency, administration members. they recount their white house experiences. announcer: this program is about an hour. >> this is an event that has been birthed from a number of sources and we are thrilled to have this distinctive panel joining us. it really started with a collection you see against the back wall. this is one of the finest collections of documents related to history. the collector who put it
8:01 pm
together was trying to focus on finding objects, documents, printed matter that bring u.s. close to we can to the contemporary events that are described and i encourage you all to have a look after the event to look at these incredible documents spanning from ambassadors from the congo in 1608 who died two days after arriving in rome to the first printing of the u.s. constitution and so forth. it is an opportunity to get close to history through interaction with documents, and i think what is exciting about this evening is we not only have this documentation but we also have living witnesses to history as well to deepen our understanding of these events. from the archives, we decided to expand the event from just an exhibition following might introduction to a woman who i met on the antiques roadshow in spokane and was a member of the kennedy administration. she was on her way there this
8:02 pm
evening, and was important in organizing this event to introduce me to the other panelists but unfortunately was stuck in denver because of the snowstorm and was unable to join us. [laughter] >> part of her display is in the corner, which he has general generously donated. i happened to meet mary gallagher who contacted me here in washington and we will learn more about mary's story in a minute and she has an incredible election and has been kind enough to share some of her treasures as well. subsequent to that, i met preston bruce who is sitting in the front row. preston, his father was the second longest serving of the white house staff in the 20th century. he was the chief doorman from the eisenhower through the fourth administration. i spent some time with preston and his family and he has also
8:03 pm
offered to bring some of his collection to show here, so please look at the collection of the end of the evening and share and learn about their stories individually. we had a wonderful luncheon two everybody, andet share some of the stories of their days in the kennedy administration. we thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to partner with this exhibition by sharing some of their recollections, all members of the panel were in the kennedy administration and have been generous with their time. i have asked my great friend motley whoy -- eric understands the value of documents, understands the value of history to moderate the panel. i look for to hearing your comments and discussion. thank you so much. [applause] was not inu know, i
8:04 pm
the kennedy administration and of what to make sure you know that. [laughter] bruce, and i want to say dr. because he went on to get his doctorate degree and i think that is quite remarkable. his father was in the white house from eisenhower to ford. there is a wonderful anecdote where eisenhower intervenes and helped him realize his own aspirations athletically. the president of the united recruiting you, dr. bruce. very happy to have you with us. >> thank you. [applause] of thehe preface landmark biography on kennedy called "kennedy." he made these comments, which i think are quite fitting to start with. " i cannot single out any one day for a time i begin to understand john kennedy is a human being. gradually, i discover the
8:05 pm
simplicity of this man's taste and demeanor was, while genius and genuine, deceptive and disarming. i also learned in the time that this cool analytical mind was stimulated by a warm, compassionate heart. the more one new john kennedy, the more one like him. those of us who came to know him well, bill we really rarely heard him discuss his personal feelings, begin to know the strength and warmth of this dedicated man and his logic. as he himself said about robert frost, his sense of the human tragedy, fortifies him against self-deception and easy consolation. " this evening, we are fortunate to be with sex exceptional -- six exceptional men and women. six individuals whose lives have intersected with kennedy, who
8:06 pm
were in the kennedy administration, who have unbelievable stories, and just two weeks ago we had lunch together. i assure you, this is a most entertaining group, and if we had all night, we would have stories all night, but we only have an hour. i am sure you know that. our fellowship afterwards, we may be a will to continue some of these wonderful stories and conversations about what it was like during the kennedy administration. i would like to share with you two observations that it took was in the luncheon. one, there is a brightness on the face of the individuals when they spoke about their years in the administration. there was excitement and recollection. the second observation i made, was that everybody spoke with concern and care about the individual. stepping outside of his senate office, to talking with his secretary, and his making the assumption or the claim that they knew everything, absolutely
8:07 pm
everything, and all of a sudden they started to realize, yes, maybe we do know everything. we want to know everything. they did know everything. a sense of encouragement in their own growth individually, and he tracked them, kept in touch with their kids and their dogs. some of the homes that these individuals had. this is how we will proceed. i would like to introduce each of the panelist individually. i will ask each of you one or two questions, and then i would like to go back to the entire panel and i would like to ask you another question, would like to ask you, was there one memory or recollection that you have from those years that you will forever hold onto, and then we will open the floor for q&a. sound look a good plan? great. senator, the sole gentleman here, senator walker who was
8:08 pm
jfk's special assistant for civil rights and the chief wave for martin with thinking. he helped to form the t score is served in the pennsylvania senate and later as a university president. i would like to ask you, tell us just a bit about how instrumental you were in introducing martin luther king to jfk. >> king, martin luther king was skeptical about kennedy. with nixon impressed when they met in africa, so it was not an easy thing for kennedy to win him over. say, i need help. can you hear? ok.
8:09 pm
moment i realized that displaying, and the gift that counted a lot was his smile, and martin luther king liked his smile. let me tell you one reason why. the question on the first television debate was, what do you think about the questionable language president truman had used about his secretary? and kennedy began, the smile was beginning but again saying, if mrs. truman cannot control his light which, i'm not going to try. [laughter] ixon started
8:10 pm
answering, a pious answer about his sacred heart being broken. how the mothers of america are just in terror because of this terrible language. throughout this whole speech from nixon they kept showing smile, with a careful and i thought to myself afterwards as well as on the spot, that he lost by 120,000 votes. that smile in that moment was probably worth more then 100,000 votes. i have two or three other moments of smiles, but i think -- if youile at me get back to me, i will give you my sort of revolutionary
8:11 pm
position. it is not the tangible artifacts that we can see and touch, but something as intangible as a real and a good smile. senator, you are with president kennedy at the founding of the peace corps. could you tell us how that was inspired? late atdy was a very the university of michigan where he was going to spend the night after a television debate with nexixon. it was approaching 2:00 a.m. they got there for a talk, and he looked at the 10,000 people that were estimated, mostly students and faculty, and he winged it. he had had strong feelings coming back from southeast asia about how american diplomacy
8:12 pm
needed to be very different, and he started getting a sense of that, and then asked several questions, would you be willing to give three or five years of your life serving in ghana? he asked for or five of those questions and he got a big war each time --roar each time. he went to bed in the students went to work. that started was a group of the peace corps for kennedy. andughter had heard kennedy they were all excited and formed a committee of michigan students, the world responsibility and they are taking a scroll around and they have almost 1000 students saying, we will go if you can
8:13 pm
arrange it, if you can give us a way. they called me because they wanted to find a way to get their scroll to the candidate. that was a quick talk. it, that isnged whenthis phone call came they were touring the midwest. when it came, kennedy says, this idea is really catching home. let's make a major proposal of it. he did. he did in san francisco. that was the beginning of the peace corps. the smile i remember of kennedy and the peace corps was as i was leaving the white house to be a peace corps representative in africa for two years, directing
8:14 pm
that program. white house in the lawn, 600 peace corps volunteers in the first wave going to africa or anywhere else. as you know, they had already gone to ghana once. , a veryay back appropriate remark. on the way back, he looked at me with a smile and said, and i have to say, he had his doubts about the peace corps often on, but he no longer was thinking this. he was thinking what they had done in two years and here was another group of 600 and he said, you know, this will be really serious when it is 100,000 peace corps volunteers a year. that would mean one million
8:15 pm
americans in a decade with first-hand experience and asia, then we will have a constituency for a good foreign policy. that came with a big smile. >> wow. thank you. and thank you for the role you play. thank you. [applause] >> this is jean lewis to my left. right before we actually met and have lunch, another one of your colleagues said to me, look, that is jean lewis, 97 years old and drives a convertible. [laughter] >> and then i later discovered that we have something in common, we are both from alabama. montgomery. >> montgomery. injean came to the senate 8 and worked for larry
8:16 pm
o'brien. you may also remember, good historical note that he was associated with the water great -- watergate break-ins. jeanne, you worked in that office for a long time and all of the interesting people that would come and go. give me a physical description of what the office was like and what you experienced on a day-to-day basis. work ini reported for heard aboutalready how nice of a person senator kennedy was. hello? >> that's better. two was really looking for getting into the office and looking around and becoming a part of this operation. i had expected that all of my colleagues, the girls would look like models.
8:17 pm
i expected a very glamorous setting. much to my surprise, when i reported to work, here was this office with seven desks lined up in two rows. my desk was in the back of the office, facing the wall. [laughter] colleagues were nice-looking women, but i mean, they were not model types. [laughter] >> excuse me. me office was a parking ess. it was piled high with books and papers. copies stacked up on a chair. i put them in a file and got them off the chairs. visitors, many were nuns.
8:18 pm
we had a perfect stream of visitors all the time. nixon'sesident an office was across the hall. someone came in and shook our hands, in when he left, i said it was that? they said, that was humphrey. this was the time when kennedy was running for reelection in massachusetts. he was out of the office a lot. him.orensen was with ted'sded to clean up office so i gathered all of the documents he borrowed from the library of congress that will well overdue and i took them back, and the first thing he did when he got back was to order them all back. [laughter] >> did you have any interaction
8:19 pm
with senator kennedy at the time when you are working with o'brien? >> o'briant came on the scene iner when we were, i worked primarily the white house. he was back in massachusetts. was writing speeches and i was typing speeches. the mail they came and it was coming in from all over the country as well as from massachusetts, so my job was to answer all of the mail from outside of massachusetts. you can imagine, it was a tremendous quantity of mail. typing this speeches and so forth and so on. my desk was about 10 feet from his office door, but he was out of town quite a lot that fall. >> thank you so much, mrs. lewis. [applause]
8:20 pm
>> you make alabama proud. mrs. gallagher, you have the microphone with you. mrs. gallagher was the chief personal secretary to jackie kennedy. we have some wonderful stories that she will share. you came to work for senator kennedy when he was in congress, correct? first running for the senate election in massachusetts, as a congressman. >> and then you moved here with him? >> and then i moved here with him, that is right. >> this is a wonderful story. this engaged me, to be able to remain in the service of the then senator kennedy when i was forced to leave after three and thelf years thanks to tenure with him in the senate, because i had a child who was
8:21 pm
due to be born with an two weeks. if i stayed another day longer in the senate, the girls, my associates would be having a nervous fit. about two weeks before the birth of my first son, the senator stopped by my desk and asked how i was feeling, and of course, i am eight months pregnant looking up from the typewriter inside, senator, i feel just great. he said, good, you will be around a lot longer. i said, well, maybe so if you consider two weeks a while longer because i'm out of here after that. he said, but you just said, you felt fine. i said, i know. first thing is first. [laughter] >> i was out of there within the first two weeks, and my son was born four days after that, and he is standing in the back of the room saying, hello. that was 16 years ago.
8:22 pm
right there. >> now we know how old you are. [laughter] then a year in nine days senatewhen i left the was because of the fact that i was forced into it, and had the great pleasure of having this new person in our happy life. oh, i have to hold this. urge tod, i have that be able to serve the senate and they would call me at home every day, the administrative assistant. jack keepsing, asking if marion will come back to work. i said i could do something at home but not full time at the office. long story short, about three months later, they elected not to full-time anymore, but i received a call from the senator's mother-in-law, jackie,
8:23 pm
mrs. kennedy who called and said, jack suggested she call me. herneeded a secretary at estate in virginia at marywood and wanted to know if i would have the time. i said, if i can get a babysitter to sit with chris, and by the second was gregory, i would be happy to work. after four months with her, mrs. kennedy called from georgetown is said, i understand you are working for mother two days a week. would you like to spend the other days working in georgetown? [laughter] >> even though i cannot work full-time in the senate any longer, i was on a full-time but part-time basis with mother and daughter. that was great. from the years of 1957 until of0, now it became a matter
8:24 pm
georgetown,y day in and in my mind i thought, i will be just so happy when this year is over because after that i had every intention of just resuming my domestic life, motherhood, husband inmy the house and all that. with jackie and south beach florida right before the inauguration. she told me to get ready. three days before we are ready to leave is one they wanted to send out the announcement of who e secretary mrs. kennedy was taken to the white house, and prior to that, i have heard nothing about me going to the white house. i thought, when this year is over, i go back. secretary, i was
8:25 pm
in palm beast with jackie at the time, and he came from the president who went over to mrs. kennedy who is dictating from the typewriter, and he said, jackie once the press release to go out with you. said, i know you have just finished as social secretary, and then he said, how about mary? what about mary. ? without even asking me, she said, oh yes, mary has to come to the white house. [laughter] >> i was so stunned. speaking of this mary? [laughter] >> she came over and said, oh, yes, mary you must. i tried for the next 20 minutes to convince her it would not
8:26 pm
work because it would not be a part-time job. i thought this was the end of having done this campaign year that i had fulfilled my obligation. knowary i need you and you we will not be working every day. i will not be spending every day there. when i am away, you can have those days off. two turned out to be secretaries full-time. i will not get into that. as eric said, we have only an hour here. [laughter] >> i have one more question for you mrs. gallagher. one more question. >> no, not really. i have already talked about five minutes. i was trying to lay the groundwork there so you
8:27 pm
understand it was 12 years later that i was leaving the service of jacqueline kennedy. meanwhile, let me say, i have cards and i wrote a book in 1969, my life with jackson kennedy. everything i can tell you this hours, for the next two pick up a copy of "my life with jackie." [laughter] [applause] >> martin, to be have those books for sale? mrs. geller, there was nothing part-time about your commitment to mrs. kennedy, but she relied on you so much, all the way to the end. i am hesitant to ask you this, but this is also a rich part of the narrative of your own life and your experience and hers, you are with her that day in dallas.
8:28 pm
can you give us just a bit about what that was like and what you found. >> i will try to be brief, because that is one memory when it comes back, always brings a chill to my arms my shoulders and all over. i remember it like yesterday. it was 53 years ago, could it really be that much? but it is. it is a case where i think i can only talk about how difficult it was to have been right there, but i am glad that i was because for mrs. kennedy's sake i could embrace her. i will not go into the details of everything about it, but it was one of the saddest experiences that i have ever been through. when i look back on it now and try to recall it, it is almost
8:29 pm
too much to do. i am a little speechless. anyway, let's see. where do i go from here? i don't know. >> thank you. >> it is difficult. >> thank you. i am glad you were there. [applause] say i go say, i will into detail in the book about everything. [laughter] there is a memory that comes back to my mind most is being in the vip bus behind the president's motorcade is seen this policeman with his gun drawn, and that is benign is something serious had happened and i said to the secretary next to me, i said, something very terrible has happened. look at the policeman. we got to the heartland hospital for the luncheon -- parkland
8:30 pm
hospital for the luncheon scheduled and it was just chaos with everyone screaming about the president being shot. i speak about going to the hospital and go into all of that. it is a very sad note. house,nnedy visited our that is a happier topic. kennedy and the children visited on the day before she left for her big trip to india because she needed a day to get away, and miss caroline want it to come and visit. this is part of the relationship i had that i enjoyed so much. , it was likeley family. after we soon got into the white house in 1961, mrs. kennedy
8:31 pm
asked if i would have tom kitten flown to the house. the president, he was allergic to animal for which i was not aware of -- animal fur, which i was not aware at the time of either. caroline was the same age as chris and greg. they would come to visit, and she would come periodically, mostly on wednesdays when it was a day off. however, before mrs. kennedy went on her trip to india she wanted a day to herself so that caroline and she could come and visit with tom kitten and that would give for a day of relaxation. that was one of the more happier moments and there were several others, but as i say there is so much to talk about that we cannot really covered in just a few minutes. >> i have read the book so i recommend the book. [laughter] >> thank you. [applause] , worked in the
8:32 pm
campaign for fred dowuggna. shean. she later ran robert f kennedy's campaign. your husband was a specialist for jfk. tell us a bit about that and how you met and what that entire experience was like. >> is it on? >> it is on. >> let me tell you a bit about the white house because it is so different today. house had nohite chief of staff. eisenhower was the first president with the chief of staff, military so it kind of fit, but he wanted one, but when it came time to organize the kennedy white house, bob kennedy was his closest advisor. nobody was ever going to be more
8:33 pm
important than bobby. let's get a group of people and make them all equal, which meant they all had direct access to the president. they did not have to go through anyone else. the speciald assistance, but now it is assistant to the president regular chief of staff. 95, what i call elliptical appointees in the kennedy white house. everyone who works in the white house is a political appointee. the ushers, the butlers, the switchboard operators, the drivers. they are not civil servants because they tend to fit into a category. appointees whol came in from the campaign and other places, all those 95, 41
8:34 pm
of them are still living. >> you know all of them don't you, nancy? >> no, not quite. but most of the people with direct access to the president who have commissions are gone. usris is likely still with and sam became a specialist assistant in 1962 or 1963, and that is about it for those that were at that level. the rest of us were political appointees. we did political things. was no one telling us what to do, which is actually quite interesting when you think of today's white house. on a panel of be a show called "to tell the truth."
8:35 pm
of 1961.in april i said to fred, ok, if i do this? he said, sure but you better check with pierre. pierre said, you better answer all of the questions right and not do anything stupid. [laughter] >> no one told me what to do with the money but i give it to the university of michigan area by the way, -- michigan. either way, the university of michigan has more peace corps graduates than any other university in the country. actually did not work for fred during the campaign. i worked for white. how i ended up on the campaign working for byron white. i am from cincinnati, ohio came from an irish catholic democratic, pretty well-known
8:36 pm
family. the chairman of the democratic party, his secretary and my dad's secretary were best friends, and i worked downtown. right before i graduated from college in june, i was planning aroundng to the campaign july 20 and i ran into the chairman, and he said, where are you going? i said, i am just going to volunteer. he said, well, we can do better than that. we walked up to his office with his old-style telephone so he got out his little black book and he dialed a number and he is sacko.zzer this he was talking to a guard of the detroit lions. whizzer was in and to the
8:37 pm
detroit --end to the detroit lions, they were roommates and that's a landed up working for iran -- byron. what a rich history. thank you so much, nancy. [applause] been instrumental in keeping this group well-connected. thank you so much. she has been the point person on this as well. i want to introduce you to marry white who happens to be a neighbor of mine have learned more about it last couple of weeks then all the years we have lived in georgetown together. pleasure, mary. you were instrumental in helping him with profiles of courage. tony besser is in -- tell me about sorenson. >> he was unbelievably intelligent. -- i don't think i
8:38 pm
am going to mention it. i was going to give you a sample of what it was like to work in his office. speechwriter for a a sunday evening in 1962. i shared a large georgetown apartment with three other women. two of my roommates were hosting a small party. the phone rang. one of the guests answers the phone. mary, the white house is calling. it was ted sorensen asking me to come in immediately. i said, i was babysitting my three-month-old nephew, his parents were having their first night out after the birth of their first child. , said, bring the baby in. i said, ok, send a card. by the time i got the baby ready and down the flight of stairs, the driver was there.
8:39 pm
let me find my notes. i also placed a note on the door , of the apartment outside door saying, if you want your child, come down to the white house and go to the northwest gate. [laughter] the white house man did help me get the baby in. we placed him in fred douglas' office. after a wild, the white house -- after a while, the white house garden ushered in my sister and brother. , after theyid arrived to the northwest gate, let me get this right here. oh no, that was another time. ok. fine.by is i was just there checking on him.
8:40 pm
he was sleeping. nice to see you and just drive up to the northwest gate and someone will take you in. [laughter] >> they did appear, and at that point source and kate -- ted sorensen came out and met my sister and brother-in-law. he was very impressed with the baby that his name was spelled .ith two t's >> mary, do not leave out the part what the sergeant said to you. >> after i arrived? he did say, oh, i bet your friends were impressed. he said, no, they are all republicans. they think i am nuts. [laughter] we got right to work. sorensen was working on the state of the union address the president would deliver the following week.
8:41 pm
cap wrote it and i typed it in the baby slept. [applause] may i just inject a little note that brings back a memory? it won't take more than a minute. sorensen,entioned ted i am filled with all of the wonderful days in the senate when it would be ted sorensen without his secretary, ill or out on vacation, and he would ask me to fill in for whoever it was. ted sorensen had to be one of the best dictators that i have in myaken dictations from two careers. after 17 years into my second career, all of the wonderful executives i work for, none compared to the dictation i took from ted sorensen on his
8:42 pm
legislation for senator kennedy at the time. i just had to make that known. >> thank you, mary. thank you so much. you can tell they are inseparable here. [applause] she worked for dave powers who was extremely close to the president. started with him running for congress. >> tell us about the relationship. >> i worked in the first campaign office for stephen smith, the brother-in-law of resident kennedy, mary to jean kennedy. i went right to the white house and i was fortunate to be assigned today's powers who was a wonderful man, a great sense of humor and he was one of the first people who cite out president kennedy. when he was running for who reached out to
8:43 pm
president kennedy. he came from a rather humble beginning and had just returned from the war in china. he did not fly a plane he was freshly working on that and what have you. he climbed up, as dave tells the story, knocked on the door and said, i am john kennedy and i want to run for the house of representatives and everybody said you would be the perfect person to help me. dave said, i certainly will be and i'm awfully glad you did not get tired on the second floor. [laughter] >> they were together for every single trip a president ever took including in dallas when he was in the car behind him. he was a joy to work for because he was such a delightful man. i am just going to tell very quickly because i know you are very busy. my three greatest memories of the white house wars the honor
8:44 pm
of being there, and we all love the president. we admired him, knew he was designated -- dedicated and sincere. ajust remember, and this is funny little incident, mary, but with the children. one day i was going from the east wing to the west wing, and the presidential elevator stopped and out came mrs. kennedy and the president with john john. he had a robe on with slippers, holding his hand. that was a little aetrium is no longer there, where they apparently stopped in the secret service man said, ok, you can go ahead. when i got inside the aetrium, there was the president of the united states. john was hollering at the top of his lungs. mrs. kennedy used to take them out with macaroni of hers, pull in them the background -- backyard in the wintertime.
8:45 pm
he was screaming he wanted to go on that sleigh and here was the president of the united states and, but john, daddy has to go to the office. i cannot help you. [laughter] >> good morning, mr. president. i kept right on going. he was like every other father, frustrated. i am going to tell to stories and finish it. the other one was november 22. while i was not there, everybody came running saying, the president has been shot. secret service who had a small office upstairs in the east wing. he came downstairs and said, we use your office, we need a lot of people and have only one line to parkland hospital and you will have to hold it because you can work upstairs and take things in their office. do not put it down. that is the only line. getting the notes
8:46 pm
back and forth and no one actually knew what was happening. a refilling him and with details between the other agents that were there, and clint hill came on the line and i remember it, jerry banes saying, what is the story with the president? he said, he is dead, sir. i excused myself. i did not want them to hear me. they started calling all of the family to advise them. all of the sisters were saying, oh, no. not jack. it is not jack, is it? is everything all right? but said, no he is wounded they did not know he was dead. it was amazing, robert kennedy with his courage he said, the attorney general is on the line and he came on the line in the first question he asked was the last question he wanted to hear
8:47 pm
and he just said, is he dead? and i thought, of all of these people on this line asking and not wanting to ask, you asked first what you wanted to hear last, and that was amazing. the other thing i'm going to finish up with, and if you do not mind, jean and i were blessed to be part of the white house staff that was chosen to go to ireland on that great trip with the president. all my god. --oh my god. it was so wonderful. they were holding an irish like an american flag on the other side. i think to everyone who knew him, especially dave who said it was like a journey of the heart for the president because i think, and perhaps i'm not qualified to speak on this, maybe other people more so, but from what everybody said and will be gathered, it was probably the happiest trip of
8:48 pm
his presidency, which was two years, 10 months and two days of shining moments. for us, they were shining moments, too. [applause] >> now, i'm going to ask each of you. i asked each of you to share one brief memory that you would like to hold on forever. i will start with you senator. these are your last words. [laughter] >> for tonight. [laughter] delivering a driver to a big assembly at an american university for the national association of students, and shriver and i arrived and they robert, dohriver,
8:49 pm
you want to read the message it tohe president or give me to read? he took me aside and said, do you know anything about a speech? i said, no. i said, but i can get you one by the time you get to it in the talk. it.aid, i will read so, i did a very nice speech that got handed in handwriting up to sargent shriver. he gave it and a big applause for it. head of a student association called me and said, i am just so happy. speech fromng that
8:50 pm
president kennedy's personal hand. [laughter] >> i said, give me a few minutes to find the proper thing to do. he had no idea. i had to call and say, i am sorry. there is a definite role that any document, any original goes to the president. [laughter] associationin the but not in the same position. be thathere there may kennedyten speech that in 1961 days. gave. the reason it was kennedy, he gave about all of this and
8:51 pm
a very good smile. i do not think he ever read the speech though. >> thank you, senator. jean, will you share with us your memory? i was out in california six weeks before the convention, carrying out the arrangements for the convention before, and i was in the convention halls with president -- when president kennedy was nominated. he was nominated on the first rollcall but not until the very last vote for the delegates were counted. they were from the state of wisconsin. you can imagine, the delight, the ecstasy that we felt that moment he was actually receiving the nomination. i must say, the crowd went wild. [applause]
8:52 pm
>> in the first two weeks of the administration, the president was showing off the west wing with some frequency. he would have guessed over and an old congressman friend from boston or a number of people, and after dinner, he would show them the oval office. into the, he walked office that i shared with four other people that was first floor, west wing, right behind the doors. you went all the way through the windows from the front door, and it was about 10:00 at night and i was working. because i had not been a part of the campaign for a long time, i had never had a conversation with him.
8:53 pm
i introduced myself at his request, and he wanted to know something about my background. i got to the fact that i had gone to his old college and his eyes lit up, where his mother went, his sister, his other sister pat, his sister-in-law ethel kennedy. [laughter] >> at that point, it was a college run by the female jesuits. it was a voting precinct. he looked at me and said, did they vote for me? [laughter] anticipating that i might get that question at some point, i had checked, and in fact the nuns who were known as the little sisters of the rich. [laughter] >> did not vote for jfk.
8:54 pm
the second half of our conversation had lasting meaning for me. i had a book on my desk. i had not read it. i had just bought it. the president picked it up, and it was actually a book about marxist socialism, and he wanted to know what it was about. i have learned to never have a book showing that i have not read. [laughter] >> of course, the best memories are just being a part of that new frontier, of that spirit, of what we did not get accomplish as well as what we did get accomplish. i was in the state department during the cuban missile crisis and during the nuclear test treaty, and those of the
8:55 pm
memories that i am so glad i got to work on those projects. some ofcoincidentally, that to me the other day, where do you get your appreciation for art? and antiques? and i woke up in the middle of the night last night and i said, i think jackie kennedy had something to do with that and i never thought about it that way. [laughter] [applause] >> thank you, nancy. >> i am going to pick up on dean powers. it starts with, you work with ted sorensen, every third night around 9:00, if that was my day around 4:00 i would go down to lincoln's office and get fresh chocolate delivered to her office.
8:56 pm
i figured that would get me through 9:00. one time i was there in the cabinet door opened and it was dave powers with a very attractive the blonde woman dressed in all white at which point the door at the other side from the president's office, he threw his door open and he was right there in smooth this woman oped this woman up and took her right into his office. deric. melina the [applause] >> mary, the other mary, mrs. gallagher. >> i oftentimes like to look service to mrs. kennedy from the early georgetown days into the white house, and in being able to handle all of her expenses,
8:57 pm
bookkeeping wise. 1950'sbegan in the early when i sat with her in georgetown. the president of the center of the time was home in bed with a cheapcheek -- puffed up due to a tooth abscess. 17, and when i arrived at the home in georgetown to take care of mrs. kennedy's bookkeeping affairs, i went up to the second floor to the study pass the bedroom he was in there reading the newspaper and he said, good morning, mary. i said, good morning, senator. i found out after several hours of working that day that after lunchtime when i had had enough time to pile up a whole stack of checks i had written out for patted indy, that he his bare feet, bathrobe and
8:58 pm
said, how are you doing, mary? i said, just fine. he started spreading all of the checks and bills and statements all over the desk and said, what is this and what is that? i had to explain what mrs. kennedy was purchasing and where and why and how. [laughter] the statement to me, from here on out, you me with bookkeeping reports. i want to know all of mrs. kennedy's expenses from here on out. if that was not a job in itself. being a personal secretary, which i loved the shorthand, that typing, the regular run-of-the-mill appointments and badly liaison. it became double duty. the bookkeeping took about as much time, which i was able to manage actually, weekends and
8:59 pm
evenings when the boys were put to bed and all that, and i enjoyed every minute of it. when people read my book though-- [laughter] >> they cannot believe it. a big question is, how did you manage that in keeping house at the same time? i attributed to my mother-in-law and my husband. i dedicate my book to both of them and chris and greg. if it was not for them, i could never have succeeded in doing what i did. the person at the front desk, the gatekeeper or what you would call it, she was reading my book and she screamed at me and said, how did you ever keep up doing all of that? i could never. i said, relax. relax, do not let it worry you.
9:00 pm
i did it because i enjoyed it. admire president kennedy for one main reason exactly. from the moment i first met him boston, thement in tall, skinny, shirtsleeves rolled up regular kind of guy. later, when he was dayident the end that awful in november occurred, he never changed from being a regular down-to-earth kind of individual who was so natural. rave up enough about how as a president he never changed. he remained himself and i respected that very much.
9:01 pm
[applause] -- : >> i think for all of us sitting here, it was one of the most wonderful experiences of our lives. everyone whon say worked for president kennedy truly loved him and believed in him and they really didn't care. earlier, as you said senator woolford, to those whogive much, -- to those march has been given, much is expected. and they gave their measure. [applause] historytwain once said does not repeat itself but perhaps it rhymes. you have given us a wonderful
9:02 pm
sense of history tonight, all of you. and it is wonderful to have six new friends in my life, and yours are profiles in courage. thank you so much. >> thank you, you did a great job. [applause] >> i am sure we have mary because books for sale somewhere in the house. i encourage you to meet these lovely individuals and they are personally. thank you for northern trust as well. any last words? >> i wanted to a -- invite said. sit was also in dallas and was a amber of the press and was
9:03 pm
member of one of the three individuals brought into the johnson'secognize inauguration. us to meet these people and to enjoy their stories further. thank you all for coming. >> thank you. announcer: interested in american history tv? c-spanur website at three. theican artifacts, wrote to white house rewind, lectures and more. at c-span.org\history. visit the society of cincinnati where carl borick reads from his new book. book looks at the time when
9:04 pm
british forces most actively campaigned in the south and find a series of battles with continental forces. the directoralso of a museum in south carolina the time when about 6000 americans were taken prisoner, the most of any engagement during the war. this is about one hour. kindle. you, a tremendous honor to be here tonight. we were the first museum founded in america in 1773. we had a close association with the cincinnati society. we also owned the hayward -- one of house, the the signers of the declaration of the independence

7 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on